Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Boqueria (II) - Hong Kong

I have been to Boqueria a few times,  which as explained in a previous review is a Spanish type of eatery which the concept originated from New York City  (Review: Boqueria I).   To me,  one of it’s bigger attractions is that it is more about down-to-earth Spanish food,  because Hong Kong is such a funny melting pot of a city.   Spanish food here is either totally off-the-chart Avant Garde but still nowhere near the amazing-amazing stuff one experiences in Spain,  or else it can be very simple stuff.    My favourite places in town for the more down to earth Spanish eats include Ole (Tapas only,  mains are all overcooked),   Estudio (which has gone a bit downhill),   Fadango  (made us the best seafood paella),  and Boqueria is somewhere within that mix.  Although a lot of foodies don’t rate here too highly for some reason and I have certainly had my ups and downs eating here including a mussels dish previously that was quite forgettable,  but at the end of the day we are in Hong Kong and even if this revisit was by Invitation by a Friend who is doing PR work for them – I will be critically constructive if they don’t mind me saying the truth.   After all,  that is my style and this is my territory!




Some Spanish Cava to kick off the night -
Every restaurant in Spain I visited,  offered me a Cava as an aperitive,  including the current No.1 Restaurant in the World at my visit to El Celler de Can Roca.   I think this culture is so deeply imprinted into the Spanish dining experience,   even more so than the Petillants culture in France and Proseccos in Italy.

Iberico Ham -
Nicely marbled and hand sliced.   These were quite acorn sweet and a good portion.   As a side note,   I was surprised that this came with just plain bread and not any Pan con Tomate by default.  Since that is how it is served in Spain and I think this was cheating a bit..  ~  7.5/10




Next came this Rioja Red Wine Reduction Grilled Chorizos – $138
The chorizos were sliced a bit too diagonally,  but actually this is a very rare recipe to find in Hong Kong context and hence we were quite looking forward to it.   Surprisingly the smokiness and spiciness of Chorizo was kinda cooked away or hidden by the Red Wine.   I think I can really come to like this,  but if it can retain more of it’s original Chorizo spiciness taste.  ~  6.9/10

Truffles and Jamon Croquetas – $258
Looking back at the price,  I think this was too pricey.
   The truffle taste was very strong however and so was the Jamon inside,  it was definitely addictive and gooey inside though.   The taste itself was really good to be fair but the external fried casing was a little too oily to the norm.  ~  7/10



Gambas prawns al Ajillo with Guindilla Pepper – $118
I love Guindilla pepper and it is so popular up at Basque Country of Spain when I visited.   The correct Gambas al Ajillo dish should be served with bubbling garlic and olive oil,  and locally in HK the best is always found in OLE.   This version could have been more bubbly hot too but the prawns here were so huge and crunchy,  definitely one of the best alternatives in town.   ~  7.5/10



Grilled Padron Peppers from Spain – $68
One of my perennial Spanish favourites,  where only 1 in 8-10 pieces will have a fiery kick and is like playing Russian Roulette!    These were grilled well tonight and also well priced for the portion,  although after eating a few I think they were slightly under-seasoned with salt flakes.    7/10


Wagyu Bombas de la Barceloneta – $98
One of my favourite items from Barcelona’s beach area,  and also here at Boqueria HK.   I was surprised to hear that other foodies and reviewers found this only average.  I think this was really good actually and I liked the sauces and there was a lot of minced wagyu beef inside.   I guess each to their own but I know what I will order again here again and again for my own satisfaction.   ~  8/10



Pan con Tomate – $68
The same bread with Tomato,  Garlic and Olive Oil which I complained about not being served with the Jamon Iberico above.   In Spain and especially in Catalonia region this is given out for free.   Here it is an extra $68,  but truth be told?   This was really missing garlic and a fragrant olive oil input.   A little weird this time because I actually recall praising about the breads here before!   ~  5/10



White Sangria with Peach and Apples -  $2xx
This is decent here,  balanced.  Not too weak in both fruits or alcohol.   ~  8/10




Heirloom Ox Heart Tomatoes with Anchoas - 
A dish highly recommended by the Staff for some reason,  this uses French heirloom tomato and also hand fileted salted Anchoas.  Could do with more Olive oil dressing personally.   ~   7/10





Asparagus with Shaved Cheese and Romesco Sauce -
This was grilled well and slightly burnt aromatic.  ~  8/10




Goat Cheese stuffed Red Peppers with a Nutty and Herbal topping -
This was really great and the red peppers properly de-skinned.  Quite strong with the goat cheese flavour and probably can be intimidating to some,  but certainly not to me !   ~  9/10





Conchinillo Suckling Pig -  Segovian style $588
This style of Suckling Pig is from Segovia in Spain and to be cut up with a round plate,  not an unfamiliar sight if you have been to Madrid nearby…   This had a crackly skin and the meat was ever so tender.   To me it was slightly missing some pork jus and at this price point,  a little too ambitiously priced at $588.    ~ 7/10



Conchinillo Asado -
Meaty,  tender.   Just needed more proper meat jus and it will be more sublime… 


Patatas Bravas – $68
This was so good!   Definitely one of the best I have eaten in Hong Kong context.  The fried potatoes were crispy and the base sauce underneath was a spicy,  smoky Paprika and red peppers sauce.  On the top was a big dollop of Allioli sauce with more paprika.   I would say this was even more thoughtful than some of the same versions I ate in Spain itself,  I miss this.  ~  9/10




Paella Seafood Mariscos -  $428
Not my 1st time eating this,  this had an array of Monkfish,  Sepia,  Prawns,  Clams,  Mussels,  Saffron and Salsa Verde. The paella is salamander finished to give it a soccarat on the top side rather than the bottom,  which seems to be trendy nowadays but you always notice it.  This was quite likable and within locally I would rate this above the one at Ole,  although Fandango’s one had more seafood essence.   The green salsa verde here gave it another appreciated dimension.   ~  8/10




Churros with Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate – $58
Tonight’s fried churros were a little oily and dense inside,  the dark chocolate dip meanwhile was balanced.   Not as good as a previous visit but liked the cinnamon sugar,  which is actually not traditional but likeable nonetheless.   ~  6.5/10



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATorrijas – Caramelized Brioche toast,  Yoghurt Ice Cream $68 
Spanish version of French Toast.   This was soaked in milk  then pan-fried crispy,  before sprinkling some sugar on top for it to be Torch-Brulee caramelized to finish off.  I really liked this and it was my highlight for the night.  Within the same week I also had another Torrijas at Zuriolla,  another new Spanish opening in HK.  Both are so similar yet different again,  definitely each to their own.    That Yoghurt cheesy ice cream was so adorable and strong.   Still wished they fixed the bread problem overall…  ~  9/10





Price:   $600 Per Person (This meal was by Invitation and I also dine here sometimes)
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Ease of Access:  4/5
Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs,  Sunday -  12:00pm - 15:00pm, 18:00pm - 22:30pm
Fri to Sat -  12:00pm - 15:00pm, 18:00pm - 23:15pm

Address:  中環雲咸街33號LKF Tower 7樓
7th Floor,  LKF Hotel,  33 Wyndham Street,  Central,  Hong Kong
Ph: 2321 8681

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